This is how great the new Smart ID online application is

The Department of Home Affairs has put the finishing touches on its Smart ID card application website.

Originally dubbed the “e-Channel portal”, the department briefly had a pilot version of the site publicly available.

The e-Channel officially launched on 7 April.

Before the e-Channel pilot went offline, we took it for a spin, and got a taste of the process of applying for a Smart ID card online.

What I experienced was impressive, to say the least.

You begin by creating an account on the e-Channel portal.

Smart ID eChannel Register password

The security questions were a bit of a concern, but there is an additional layer of security in the form of an SMS-based one-time PIN.

Smart ID eChannel OTP and confirmation

Filling in the application was simple.

Smart ID eChannel Complete Form

You can choose whether to pay online or at a branch.

Smart ID eChannel Home Affairs in bank

You then make a booking to go to Home Affairs or a supported bank branch.

Smart ID eChannel BranchSelection

Using the e-Channel lets you skip the normal queue, as long as you are on time for your appointment.

Smart ID eChannel biometrics

Your fingerprints and photo are taken digitally.

Smart ID finger scan

Home Affairs sends you an SMS when your ID is ready for collection.

Smart ID collection SMS

Sit on a couch, and enjoy free coffee and Wi-Fi.

When I went to collect my ID, the bank branch I visited was much busier than when I went to apply.

The wait was just over 30 minutes, but was made comfortable thanks to supplied seating, Internet connectivity, and refreshments.

Smart ID eChannel coffee while you wait

Staff were friendly, professional, and helpful throughout the process.

Home Affairs launched its e-Channel portal on 7 April.

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This is how great the new Smart ID online application is